Sunday, May 18, 2014

#Wikipedia - an alternative to #bots

What bots do is generate text from the data that is provided to them using an algorithm. When you have a lot of data, it will create a lot of text or a lot of articles. When data is added at a later date, the text of a bot generated article will not change. Typically an article is served from a cache.

As bot generated articles are a bad idea when they are in a fixed format, why should we have them? That is, why not generate them when they are requested and serve them from a cache, just like any other article.

Typically, the data of a bot generated article can be provided by Wikidata and Commons. Scripts that generate articles already exist. What is needed is to import the data in Wikidata and generate the text when requested. The number of articles will go down and this is actually a good thing. It means that the articles left are the ones that humans have edited, are involved in.

So what we need are some people with language skills to create the scripts for all the languages we support. We need the WMF engineers to consider articles on demand and think through how such an article gets into the caches and statistics. We need to inform our communities about what people are reading and where a human touch can bring such articles to the next level of quality.
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